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The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), is planning to add Venice to its list of endangered World Heritage sites, saying that the Italian city is deeply threatened by climate change, mass tourism, and urban development, the Washington Post reported.
The designation will put the picturesque island city on a list aimed at encouraging remedial actions and mobilizing international support for World Heritage sites that are “threatened by serious and specific dangers,” such as armed conflict or natural disasters.
The proposed label comes ahead of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee meeting in September, which will decide whether Venice will be added to the list.
Designated as a World Heritage site since 1987, Venice is built across 118 small islands and is renowned for its architectural splendor and history.
But the city has been grappling with an increasing influx of tourists for years, while recently facing other threats from climate change, including floods and heatwaves. Climate scientists have warned that Venice could be entirely underwater by the year 2100.
Officials have worked to curb the number of tourists and pollution in the city, including banning cruise ships. Authorities have also been planning to implement a day-trip tourist fee.
Even so, UNESCO warns that measures taken by Italian authorities are “still insufficient and need to be further developed.”
This is the second time in recent years that UNESCO has considered putting Venice on the endangered list, a deferral that has received criticism from environmental groups.
The UN agency believes that adding Venice will encourage national and international efforts to find solutions before the situation gets worse.
It cited the example of Belize’s barrier reefs, which were added to the list in 2009: Following the designation, the Belize government implemented a plan that halted oil exploration and drilling, mitigating a significant threat to the reefs.